‘In Cold Blood’ killers suspected in Florida murders from 1959

Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood made Perry Smith and Richard Hickock famous for the disturbing murders of the Clutter family, who were killed in the middle of the night at home in a quiet Kansas farmhouse. Smith and Hickock drove there almost immediately from prison, where Hickock heard rumors of a safe on the Clutter property from his cellmate.

They almost certainly killed the family – and plunged the region into terror – to prove their masculinity to each other, but Capote’s true crime novel made the case popular enough that Florida detectives are now hoping to exhume the corpses of the murderers – both hung in 1965 – for an investigation thousands of miles away from the Clutter farm. Investigators hope their DNA matches the DNA left behind in the murder of the Walker family, two parents and their two toddler-aged children.

ABC News reported on the story.

After committing the In Cold Blood murder of Herbert Clutter, his wife and two children on Nov. 15, 1959, Smith and Hickock hit the road, hiding out from law enforcement in Mexico and Florida, among other places, according to Capote’s book and law enforcement accounts. They were ultimately captured in Las Vegas.

But it was in the sunshine state where the Walkers were in the market for a Chevrolet Bel-Air convertible, the same car Smith and Hickock were known to be driving and, as ABC reported, the pair was almost certainly in need of some cash. Those who read Capote’s book will remember Smith had to convince Hickock not to rape one of the clutter daughters.

Physical evidence, long before the emergence of DNA testing, was also left behind, (Detective) McGath said.

Christine Walker had been raped and semen was found in her underwear, she said, and there was a bloody cowboy hat.

And two suspicious hairs, which were inconsistent with the Walker family, were found in the home.

“There was a dark hair found in the bathroom, where baby Debbie was found in the bathtub, and a long blonde hair inside the dress of Christine Walker,” McGath said.

Read the whole story at ABC News.

[h/t @DavidGrann]

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